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IIHF World Juniors Day 1 RECAP: USA and Russia get stunned, Czechs win but at a cost

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One Bruins prospect goes home early to deal with an MCL injury, and the rest of the day is just stunner after stunner.

Andrea Cardin/HHOF-IIHF Images

Game 1: Kazakhs make a game out of it until it isn’t, Switzerland wins 5-3

The Kazakhstani coalition chose to make Switzerland sweat, and it made for a delightful contest!

Game Notes:

  • Luca Hollenstein didn’t have a great afternoon. 19 shots against, and three went in. Sure, the Swiss were uncharacteristically sloppy in letting up breakouts, but you need your starting goalie to hold together against the not-good teams.
  • Nussbaumer has a shot on him. oh my gosh. This youth has something to build on.
  • It only gets worse from here, Kazakhstan. Hope you got ready for a bad time.

Game 2: Lauko goes home early, but the Czechs stun Russia in 2nd period, win 4-3.

This game started incredibly poorly for the Czechs, as they lost Jakub Lauko to a hellacious neutral-zone hit that ended up causing him to be labelled as out for the tournament.

The Czechs responded by telling Russia to sit the hell down. Over and Over again.

Game Notes:

  • Russia was favored, but lost this game due to a crippling lack of discipline in penalties and on defense that got them 26 minutes of PIM and a short-handed goal scored on them. They spent a good long time wearing their own backcheck down, and it cost them when the big guns of the Czech Republic stood tall.
  • Speaking of whom, the Czechs have made it abundantly clear that any prognostication about them being in trouble was founded entirely on people looking at their division and going “i dunno...”. These guys are flying most of the time. Granted, their defense is pretty haphazard, but they look like a team ready to exhaust their competition.
  • Bruins Prospect in this game: Jakub Lauko’s tournament possibly comes to an end in under a minute with an MCL injury. We’ll let you know if that is the case.

Game 3: Canada flexes it’s muscle and USA collapses down the stretch in 6-4 contest.

Both squads got a lot of good perspective, but the tone of that perspective is wildly different depending on the team after an absolute barn-burner.

Game Notes:

  • Canada started pretty slow, then got on their horse and didn’t let up for the final 40 minutes. Unlike in previous years, they look almost impossible to kill.
  • Spencer Knight did not have a great time once period 1b started, but more importantly for him, the penalty kill in front of him looks dreadful. The USA needs to work on their special teams and fast.
  • Bruins in this Game: Curtis Hall and John Beecher played well and with some good hustle, but did not factor on the scoresheet in this contest. Beecher played 16:31 TOI and Hall played 8:43

Game 4: Finland-Sweden is just as good as it always is. Sweden wins 3-2 in OT.

I cannot wait to see this game in the elimination portion of the tournament. It’s going to rule.

Game Notes:

  • This game had everything. Nils Hoglander doing a lacrosse goal, Patrik Puistola being too angry and finnish to be denied on a tie-up, spectacular goaltending galore, I wish they’d televise every Sweden-Finland game from here to the end of time.
  • Hell, I wish there was a never-ending trophy battle between these two. They’re that fun to watch.
  • That Hoglander play was just...wow. Andre Svechnikov can already do that in the NHL, and a dude whose made a career out of pulling that kind of thing at the SHL level is coming to the pacific division. Goaltending is about to become a very weird position to play.

The Games today:

The 9am game:

Slovakia vs. Kazakhstan

The 1pm game:

Germany vs. USA

Which should I watch?:

There’s only one team left in the tournament with Bruins prospects on it and it’s the US. You can watch the highlights from SVK v. KAZ in tomorrow’s article.